Anne Walthall

Picture of Anne Walthall
Professor, History
School of Humanities
PH.D., University of Chicago, 1979
Phone: (949) 824-3111
Fax: (949) 824-2865
University of California, Irvine
259 Murray Krieger Hall
Mail Code: 3275
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Early Modern and Modern Japan
Research Abstract
When I worked on collective violence and social conflict in late eighteenth-century Japan, I discovered the vast documentary resources available for the study of peasant life in the early modern period. Thanks to a system of domination that separated the ruling military class from the land, every village had to communicate with the authorities in writing. This spur to literacy resulted not only in public records, but in private family collections which can be mined for rich veins of information on daily activities as well as reflections on the trends of the times. I have already dug out materials on rural kabuki, poetry writing circles, prayers to peasant martyrs, conflict over the sale of nightsoil, the life cycle of peasant women, and the often invisible role of women in social protest. I am currently working on the biography of a rich peasant woman whose escapades on behalf of the emperor in 1863 brought her enough public recognition that her writings have been preserved and published.

My long range goal is to write the history of Japan's rural entrepreneurs. They are crucial for understanding what happened to rural Japan in the nineteenth century, for understanding where Japan got the capital and labor for industrialization, and for explaining social change in the countryside. Instead of a chronological study that emphasizes origins, however, I plan to analyze their activities from the inside out, attending closely to the way gender and class are constructed together in the process of class formation.
» Japan: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Houghton Mifflin Company (2006)

» With Patricia Ebrey and James Palais, East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Houghton Mifflin Company (2006)

» Women and Class in Japanese History, edited with Hitomi Tonomura and Wakita Haruko, (1999)

» De la fille de paysan a l'epouse de samouri: Les lettres de Yoshino Michi" Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales (1999)

» The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration (1998)

» "Devoted Wives/Unruly Women: Invisible Presence in the History of Japanese Social Protest," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (1994)

» Peasant Uprisings in Japan: A Critical Anthology of Peasant

» "The Family Ideology of Rural Entrepreneurs in Early Nineteenth-Century Japan" The Journal of Social History (1990)

» "Japanese Gimin: Peasant Martyrs in Popular Memory," American Historical Review (1986)

» Social Protest and Popular Culture in Eighteenth-Century Japan (1986)
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